To the editor:
I would like to make a correction to Nancy Pelosi’s recent statement on abortion. This half-truth continues to finds its way into the media because the research of this aspect of Christian history hasn’t been done accurately. I am confident that if you look at the work of church historians such as John Connery SJ, John Noonan, and George H. Williams, you would see clearly the inaccuracy of her statement.
There was a period of time when the church made a distinction between the fetus being “animated” or “unanimated” — having a soul or not. This particular discussion was only in terms of a penalty for one’s penance. There was never a question of abortion being acceptable. Direct abortion was always seen as wrong. The Christian Community during this period knew life began and ended with God, so it made little difference to them at which point the chain of life was broken-at any point after conception, a child God destined for the world, was not born. Also they didn’t have the knowledge we do today with 4D ultrasound, intrauterine surgery, and the developments in the science of fetology and perintology.
The church has always opposed a direct abortion because it saw this life as a gift from God. In my work in the last 12 years in Project Rachel, I see another aspect in the wisdom of the church’s opposition to abortion: the destructiveness to the woman — and man — who has an abortion. Whatever is bad for the unborn child is also bad for the mother. I have seen in countless women the devastation that they have experienced psychologically and spiritually because of abortion. I have also seen the tremendous healing and restoration through God’s grace in the process that the church offers through Project Rachel/Rachel Vineyard Retreat (1-888-972-2435).
Father Jim Hewes
St. Joseph’s Church